There are probably way more invisible disabilities/illnesses than you have previously thought. The article lists, describes, and tells how each can be debilitating. Please keep this information in mind when you experience a person who is not obviously disabled. Some people make the mistake of thinking the person they see using an EBT card, using a smartphone, or perhaps even driving a less than decrepit vehicle parked in the handicapped spot with a placard. People of all ages, walks of life, and all income levels have found themselves out of jobs, loss of a loved one, and/or struck down with an invisible illness and became unable to work. It is very possible, and probably likely, the person you see in line at the grocery store had the vehicle, expensive handbag, smartphone, and nice clothes long before they were finding themselves in need of assistance.
It is a common myth that getting assistance is easy to do and the system is easy to scam, even for non-U.S.citizens. A person cannot just waltz into the Department of Human Resources, fill out an application, and get assistance. Everything on that application will be verified. Your name, your address, your phone number, your social security number, your past employment – especially your most recent, tax information – everything will be verified. If anything, and I mean anything, kicks out of the system – more likely than not, you will be denied without a further explanation. It is possible you will receive a letter in the mail as to why you were denied. You MUST have a social security number in order to receive any assistance – period. You MUST prove your residence. Your previous employer will be called and your status will be verified. Your tax information will be researched (using your ss#) and verified. Your citizenship status WILL be verified. If you are not a citizen or a current permanent resident, you will be denied any assistance. If you quit your job or voluntarily reduced your work hours without good cause – you will be denied. If you are able bodied and can work, you are required to be registered for work. A disability letter from your doctor will help you to become exempt from this particular requirement. Then there is the lengthy financial requirements. The process goes on and on.
So, as you can see, it is tricky business to get any kind of assistance. Please try to keep all this in mind the next time you see someone using and EBT/SNAP card or parking in a handicapped parking spot with an appropriate tag or placard. It may not be obvious as to what their issues are and could be experiencing a life changing, debilitating illness.